Clemson linebacker Mike Jones has found a new confidence within himself. After having a season to grow and learn, the redshirt freshman says, “making plays, I just feel like, is a regular thing to me now.”
Jones can rightfully say he has found a role in this year’s defense. This season, he has 13 tackles, four of which have been for loss.
Against Wofford last week, he recorded his first career forced fumble. He explains he has been able to make big plays because the game has slowed down, and he is able to play more and think less.
“It’s starting to get a lot slower,” he said. “Thinking how I’ve progressed over time. Even at the beginning of the season, the game was still really fast and there was a lot of thought that went into it. As the game goes on, you’re thinking less, and you get to play faster.”
“My mindset and knowledge of the game I feel has improved,” Jones continued. “When you’re a freshman, it’s a lot going on. Being able to maximize my time and knowing my opponent rather than just going out there and playing. It definitely gives you and edge, and it slows the games down. It gives you the ability to play fast and think less.”
Jones contributes his success to strength and conditioning coach Joey Batson’s Power Hour, saying that hour each day during his redshirt season is what made him the player he is today.
“It was tough, but I loved it,” he said. “It really helped me be the player I am today. I know the scout guys are super important. I think of my time in Power Hour having to go lift then come out here and run scout.
“That’s constantly on my mind. I tell myself that I have to keep grinding because those guys depend on you to do the best job you can. In all aspects of the game, that was a very important time for me. I’m thankful for that time, and it made me the player I am today.”
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